Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change. It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change (Mullins 2010: 753).
Change is an inevitable factor which occurs at different phases in a human life cycle. It plays an important role in organisational and social life style of an individual, where they are vulnerable to the continual changes taking place from time to time. Change management is a systematic approach of planning and restructuring an organisational hierarchy and dealing with individuals who are affected by these changes (Change-Management, 2013).
An organization is structured on the basis of organisational constructs which have the ability to adhere or derail an organisational change. An organisational construct can be used to define the organisational hierarchy (who is charge, who reports to who) which derives a set of responsibilities formed at different management levels, roles assigned at each level and levels of authority (Daptiv, 2013).
As Henry Mintzberg had suggested in his article on “Organisational Structure”, the organisations can be demarcated on the basis 3 basic dimensions. 1) “The Key” part of the organisation which plays a major role in defining success or failure. 2) “The Prime Coordination” an important method which is used to coordinate activities within an organization. 3) “The type of decentralisation” an extent to which the organisation involves sub-ordinates in a decision making process. Using these three dimensions, Mintzberg suggests that if an organisation adopts and utilizes that strategy efficiently it may result in five structural configurations: simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional, bureaucracy, divisionalized and adhocracy (National Forum, 2012).
In today’s world, many organisations are faced with challenges that force them to amend or adjust in a complex environment (Burnes, 2004). Developing organisations will undergo through change process, when having to respond to a situation where a new development occurs or as a part of the restructuring process or space expansion. Most of the organizational managers believe that change has turned to be a constant phenomenon which has to be managed and addressed properly for the survival of an organisation. Organisations have to move according to the changes happening in the real world, these changes can be related to technology, the market place, workforce, social values, global economy, demographics, information systems, diverse products and services. This change is applicable for the managers in an organisation as well.
Kurt Lewin’s theory states that change management can be a devastating situation if the managers do not process a procedure to guide all the subordinates through the new changes. In order to avoid such experience and an alternative for change management plan, Kurt Lewin’s had proposed three stages: Unfreezing, Change and Freezing. 1) Unfreezing: According to Kurt, the management should analyse and critically evaluate the need for change. From a stake holder’s point of view, the organisation should have the answers for these questions. What are the benefits for your employees and managers and how it is going to enhance the social performance management system of an organisation? 2) Change: According to Lewin there are two driving forces which influence the change in a person’s motivation – Driving forces and restraining forces. Driving force is a positive change which determines the attitude of an employee towards his professions, on how keen he is to be recognized for his contributions. Restraining force is a negative force which derives the inefficiency of an employee due to lack of knowledge on the latest trends. 3) Freezing: When changes are taking shape in its own space and people have embraced the new ways of working, the organization is ready to refreeze (MBS Portal, 2010)
Another alternative to avoid a devastating situation is to hire Change Agents. Change Agents can act as catalyst to trigger growth in an organisation. However, these roles are invariably exaggerated one-dimensional models that ignore the full complexity and scope of change agent roles. In order to justify his theory, Raymond Caldwell had proposed a fourfold model, a new fourfold classification developed for change agents which covers leadership, management, consultancy and team models. These four models reaffirm the significance of multifaceted and complex roles change agents perform in a corporate transformation (Caldwell, 2001).
From the research case studies and the above explained factors, it is clearly evident that employees resist changing due to their fear to take up an initiative or they do not exactly know what to do. This resistance can be appropriately considered as a feedback form from the individuals who lacks knowledge about their work and company’s daily operations. It is advisable for the management to acknowledge the employees explaining why the changes were essential for the company. These resistances can serve as valuable information’s that can be used as an aid for gathering ideas, executing initiative changes and improving the communication gap between the firm and employees.
JC Penney (JCP) is one of the organisations who had introduced a decentralized structure which affected the workplace culture and the lives and morale of the employees working in it. As a part of the restructuring program, the company had successfully implemented a transformational change through Ullman and Theilmann (newly appointed CEO and HR Chief of JC Penny), which not only enhanced the profits but also improved the lives of many by having them work/ “engaged” in a friendly environment. The strategy behind this improvement was the implementation of Lewin’s 3 Phase theories of Unfreezing, Movement and Refreezing. “Just Call Me Mike” campaign had changed the level of discrimination between the managers and subordinates. Also the firing of COO-Catherine West by Ullman was a message to all the employees that the power is not in the hands of few people (Academia, 2014).
I personally agree to the opinion that a strong leader should step up and engage to meet the challenging situations and amend changes based on the employee’s needs and requirements. Management should analyse the reasons which hinders an organisation from increasing profits and development and deploy an organisational change to improve the relationship between the management and employees.
 Academia. (2014) JC Penney and Organisational Change: The Lewin; [online] available from <http://www.onlinemba.com/blog/10-most-ethical-ceos-in-corporate-america/>; [Accessed: 08 May 2014]
 Daptiv. (2013) Organizational Change Management – Part 2: How Does Change Impact Individuals?; [online] available from < http://blogs.daptiv.com/2013/05/organizational-change-management-part-2-how-does-change-impact-individuals/> [Accessed: 08 May 2014]
 Change-Management. (2013) Definition Of Change Management [online] available from < http://www.change-management-coach.com/definition-of-change-management.html > [Accessed: 08 May 2014]
 National Forum. (2012) Organizational Structure: Mintzberg’s Framework; [online] available from <http://www.nationalforum.com>[Accessed: 08 May 2014]
 MBS Portal. (2010) Kurt Lewin; [online] available from < http://www.mbsportal.bl.uk/taster/subjareas/busmanhist/mgmtthinkers/lewin.aspx >[Accessed: 08 May 2014]
 Gladwell. (2001), ‘Models of Change Agency: a Fourfold classification’, London: British Journal of Management, vol. 14, pp. 131-142